World Bank AI grant for West Bank and Gaza
The World Bank has approved a US$13 million grant to minimise threats posed to humans by avian influenza in domestic poultry in the West Bank and Gaza.
US$3 million is being provided from the World Bank’s Avian and Human Influenza Facility
, a multi-donor financing mechanism set up earlier this year, while a US$10 million grant from the World Bank’s
own resources has been approved and will serve as a second stage of this project.
â€œThese grants will assist the Palestinian Authority to improve their readiness and protect their citizens from a potentially devastating threat as the migration season is around the corner,â€ says Arif Zulfiqar, World Bank Head of Department responsible for all Facility Grant Applications. â€œIn particular, the Bank is committed to helping the poor and vulnerable benefit from quality public health care as well as reforms in the animal health system, to help avert a possible human pandemic with the devastating social and economic impacts this would imply.”
In April 2006, the avian influenza
(H5N1) virus was confirmed across eight locations in Gaza. The proximity of outbreaks in neighbouring countries, coupled with a large volume of bird migrations, increases the probability of a spread of the virus among domestic poultry, and thus places West Bank and Gaza at high risk.
The World Bank’s Avian and Human Influenza Facility is supported by generous commitments from eight donor agencies, the European Commission
being the largest donor. The Avian Flu Facility is dedicated to help countries prepare and implement integrated action plans designed to reduce the social and economic impact of avian influenza and minimise possible outbreak of a human flu pandemic.